Please give a warm welcome to author Mindy Ruiz, who is joining us with ENCHANTED HEART. This is the first book in her YA fantasy Game of Hearts Series!
Guest post: Deleted Scene and Author Insights
Wow! Thank you so much for letting me sneak in and guest post today. I thought I’d go with the always-fun unedited deleted scene post! I live about twenty miles from Hollywood so I always find it fascinating to see what makes the final cut and what ends up on the editing floor. This is the hospital scene that’s currently residing on a cut floor:
“Is she going to be all right?” A.J. whispered over the hazy fog that had me tied down. I tried to open my eyes but even being awake seemed to take too much energy.
“She’ll be fine…” the words from a male voice ran into mush the harder I tried to listen.
“How long will she be here?” a woman’s voice -- A.J.’s mom-- asked. I felt the sides of my mouth try to pull in a smile, but gave up when even that action hurt. She’d promised me a new pair of Manolos.
The door clicked shut and silence crept up around my ears. Quiet shouldn’t be tangible but, I could feel it, feel it was trying to drag me back into unconsciousness because it was heavy.
Heavy on my neck.
Heavy on my body.
Heavy on my mind.
It was like tar from the La Brea tar pits once it was on you there was no way to shake it loose.
It just clung to you.
A ray of light shot across the darkness of my closed eyes.
“She’s going to be fine, son.” A.J.’s mom was close to me. My body wanted to roll into her warmth and kindness. I had to be lying down, but I had no clue where I was. The familiar texture of A.J.’s hand covered mine. I wanted to turn my palm up and squeeze his, but my body hurt too badly.
“You like her.”
“You know that’s impossible,” A.J.’s voice bit back.
“I know it may seem that way,” his mom’s voice had that there-there tone most moms seemed to be born with. “A.J.,” his mom’s voice was a temporary lifeline from the black tar gob of silence attacking me. “I know anything worth having will often have a steep price tag attached.”
Her voice echoed in my brain like a child screaming in an empty parking garage, but even that noise couldn’t stop the black tar gob of oblivion as it pulled me under.
So, why didn’t the hospital scene make the cut?
Enchanted Heart, the first draft, came in at 135,000 words. It needed a massive word count reduction. The final version is around 98,000 words. There were two reasons why the hospital scene got the axe.
The first and super gigantic one was I wanted readers to question Cassie and A.J.’s relationship right along with Cassie. The hospital scene gave away too much of A.J.'s emotions for Cassie away. In this seen we know he like her, we know there’s a problem, and worse so does Cassie. Cassie needed to be tortured a little bit more by A.J. before we find out his true thoughts.
The second, I wanted the reader to feel as discombobulated about time as Cassie was. This really is her journey and I felt giving the reader even a glimpse at how much time had passed in the hospital wouldn’t be fair to Cassie and her telling.
It’s so hard figuring out which scenes stay, which go, because each of them can be rationalized as moving the story forward. That’s where great critique partners, beta readers, and hand-holding friends come in. Earlier in this scene Cassie is visited by what the reader thinks is a shadow, that ‘flashback’ did make the cut in the second Game of Hearts book.
A bunch of the other deleted scenes are sitting in my cuts folder. I have several that are already working their way into Book two, but this one. Sadly, this one will only be read here.
Thanks for letting me come and take over. I hope you enjoy Enchanted Heart and be sure to look for Book two in The Game of Hearts series mid-October.